Sync.com vs MEGA in 2021: Security Showdown

Sync.com and MEGA are two cloud storage services with excellent security and privacy. Join us as we find out which is the better option by comparing features, pricing, security and more.

Joseph GildredAleksander Hougen
By Joseph Gildred & Aleksander Hougen (Editor)
— Last Updated: 2021-09-22T23:56:27+00:00 Facts checked by Elisabeth Ivey

For those with a mind toward security with cloud storage, zero-knowledge encryption is the way to go. Sync.com and MEGA are two services that rank among the best zero-knowledge cloud storage options available today. In this Sync.com vs MEGA comparison, we’ll find out which is the better cloud storage option for your needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • If you’re trying to decide between Sync.com and MEGA, well, Sync.com is the better option due to its larger feature set and better prices.
  • If all you need is 20GB of storage or less, MEGA’s generous free plan might make it the better option.
  • Both providers are very secure and private cloud storage alternatives when compared with more widely-known options like Dropbox.

While Sync.com ranks at the top of our list of the best cloud storage, MEGA probably gets a little more mention online. That’s partly due to its ties to Megaupload, seized by the FBI in 2012 for supporting online piracy (read the crazy story about Megaupload and its founder Kim Dotcom to learn more). Mostly, though, it’s because MEGA offers the most free storage out of any major cloud storage provider.

However, despite having more brand recognition, MEGA doesn’t quite stack up to Sync.com. If you want a more detailed look at either service, don’t forget to check our separate Sync.com review and MEGA review.

  • 08/13/2021

    Updated features and pricing, replaced images, changed the format.

  • Yes. Sync.com is our favorite cloud storage provider, edging out other favorites like pCloud and Icedrive.

  • Yes, MEGASync is safe. In fact, it’s one of the more secure and private cloud storage solutions out there, easily outperforming big-hitters like Dropbox for this criterion.

  • Kind of. While MEGA might not necessarily be safer than Google’s cloud storage, it’s certainly a whole lot more private due to its implementation of zero-knowledge encryption and Google’s terrible reputation with user privacy.

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The Cloud Storage Battle: Sync.com vs MEGA

To see which of the two cloud storage services is better, we’ll compare them against each other in six separate rounds. These will be focused on features, pricing, usability, file syncing and sharing, speed, and security and privacy.

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    5-Unlimited GB
    $ 500
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    20 GB - 16 TB
    $ 494
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1. Features

We’ll kick off our comparison by looking at each provider’s features. We’ll save the actual file syncing and sharing for a later round, so for now let’s see which additional features Sync.com and MEGA offer their users.

First things first: both Sync.com and MEGA are compatible with most major operating systems. This includes Windows and macOS, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android. MEGA also supports various Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Fedora and CentOS, whereas Sync.com relegates Linux users to the browser application, though a full application is supposedly in the works.

Versioning & File Sizes

Versioning is a crucial feature for cloud storage services. Not only does it let you revert any mistakes and accidental deletions of files, it also protects you against ransomware attacks. 

Sync.com’s versioning depends on your account level. Free accounts get 30 days of versioning, whereas paid accounts get 180 days. The exception is the Solo Professional 6TB plan, which upgrades this to a full year.

sync versioning default
Sync.com has some of the best version control in the business.

MEGA’s versioning policy is a lot less clear; no matter how deep we looked, we were unable to find any concrete details on how long it keeps past versions or deleted files. We reached out to MEGA support about this, and after a few weeks and some back and forth, we finally got some answers.

There’s no hard-limit on how many versions MEGA will keep of your files, though we were told that users shouldn’t expect more than 100 versions. There’s also no time-limit on these past versions, which is excellent.

However, deleted files on MEGA can disappear at any moment, as they might get caught in a periodic server purge. The MEGA representative told us that they could not guarantee success in recovering deleted files.

Collaboration Features

Collaboration features — usually in the form of integration with popular document suites like Office 365 or Google Workspace — give users the ability to edit documents directly in the cloud storage software. This is a feature that generally doesn’t play too well with things like zero-knowledge encryption.

For that reason, neither Sync.com or MEGA rank as particularly good cloud storage for collaboration. MEGA offers nothing of the sort, but Sync.com did add integration with Office 365 in 2020. 

This means that if you have files with office file extensions (like .DOC or .DOCX) stored on the Sync.com cloud, you can open them from the Sync.com desktop client or browser app and edit them in Office 365 without downloading the file first.

MEGA does have a built-in chat client, which could be useful for people looking for an alternative to WhatsApp for encrypted messaging. However, we’re not sure how useful this feature really is, as it requires users on both sides of the conversation to have a MEGA account.

mega chat
MEGA’s built-in chat application is a nifty inclusion, but probably not too useful for most people.

File Previews

If you just want to have a quick look at the contents of a file, whether that’s an image, document, video or audio file, having to download the whole thing can be frustrating and time consuming. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this with either cloud storage service, as there’s a preview mode available (though in Sync.com’s case it’s only for users on a paid plan).

mega video preview
MEGA lets you stream your media files — images, music and video — directly from the web interface.

MEGA has the edge here. Not only are file previews available to free account holders, but it also works for practically all kinds of files, including documents, images, video and audio. Sync.com, on the other hand, will only let you preview documents and images.

Overall this is a difficult round to declare a winner for, but Sync.com’s integration with Office 365 makes it a much better option for collaboration than MEGA, and we think this is probably a bigger deal than audio and video previews. That means Sync wins the “features” round and takes the lead right out of the gate, starting the score at 1-0 in its favor.

Round: Features
Point for Sync.com
Visit Sync.com1
Visit MEGA0

2. Pricing

Pricing is a very important point to consider for any cloud storage, and there are two main factors to consider: gigabytes and dollars. Free storage, subscription costs and total storage are all on the table.

Free Storage

Let’s start with each service’s free storage plan. This is an area where MEGA dominates because MEGA gives you 20GB of storage for free, which is far and away the most you’ll get for free without lifting a finger. You can also earn up to another 15GB for a year by completing certain “achievement” actions like installing the client across multiple device types and verifying your phone number.

With Sync.com, you can get 5GB of free cloud storage. There are some other limitations as well, such as a 5GB cap on sharing and no access to document previews, granular permissions or Office 365 integration. You can also create only three sharing links at a time, and your versioning is limited to just 30 days.

Both services also let you unlock more storage by referring your friends. In Sync.com’s case, this means 1GB of extra free storage (up to a maximum of 25GB) for each friend you refer, whereas MEGA gives you an additional 5GB for each referral.

Although MEGA has the better free account, Sync.com has much more reasonable paid plans. There are three plans for individual Sync.com users (we won’t touch on the plans for teams here), which come with 200GB, 2TB and 6TB of storage for $5 per month, $8 per month and $20 per month, respectively.

All three plans are more than fairly priced. Most of the mainstream providers, including Google Drive (read our Google Drive review) and Dropbox (read our Dropbox review), give you 2TB of storage for around $10 a month. Sync.com gives you that for $2 less.

The addition of a 200GB plan is nice to see, too, since many cloud storage services don’t offer small plans, potentially forcing people to pay for something they don’t need. Our only complaint is that you have to pay annually; there’s no month-to-month option.

MEGA, on the other hand, is among the more expensive cloud storage options though by how much depends on the plan. A 2TB plan costs around $12 per month (depending on the euro conversion rate), which is $4 more than Sync.com. However, MEGA’s smaller 400GB plan is a better deal at around $6 per month, the same as Sync.com’s 200GB plan.

The upshot is that MEGA also offers some truly huge plans at 8TB and 16TB, but these will set you back quite a bit, with price tags of around $25 and $35 per month. Still, it’s nice to have the option, as few other providers have plans this large.

This means that we have a tie on our hands in pricing. If you’re just looking for small amounts of storage, then MEGA’s generous free plan or 400GB plan are great options. MEGA is also a great deal if you need a ton of storage. However, the more middle-of-the-road 2TB plan is pretty expensive compared to Sync.com’s. With a tied result in this round, we now have a score of 2-1 in Sync’s favor.

Round: Pricing
No clear winner, points for both
Visit Sync.com2
Visit MEGA1

3. Usability

Cloud storage services that are packed with features can be complicated to understand, especially for first-time users. Unfortunately, this is an area where both Sync.com and MEGA could do a lot better, as both have desktop apps that frankly look pretty dated and ugly.

sync computer client
Sync.com’s desktop app is hidden in your system tray, which makes it frustrating to use.

The biggest problem with both desktop apps is that they’re not full-featured applications. They sit in your system tray, and the only thing you can actually open are basic settings panels. It’s clear that both MEGA and Sync expect users to rely mostly on the web interface, which we think is a mistake.

MEGA’s desktop client is slightly better designed than Sync’s, but not by much.

Quibbles about aesthetics aside, it’s easy to sync files and access all the settings and features in either service’s desktop client. That goes for the web interfaces as well, as everything is laid out in a logical and clear manner that avoids any confusion about where to find something. This is a good thing, as it’s here that you’ll spend most of your time when using either service.

sync web application
Sync.com clearly put much more thought into its web application that it did for its desktop version.

The mobile apps are also well designed and look exactly like you’d expect them to look on either mobile operating system. They both have easily navigable menus at the bottom of the screen, and also allow for automatic photo upload.

sync mobile access
Sync.com’s iOS and Android apps look and handle just as you’d expect.

At the end of the day, there’s not much that separates MEGA and Sync.com in terms of usability, and any judgment we’d make here would be incredibly subjective. Because of that, we’ll call this a tie and move on to the next round with Sync.com retaining its lead with a score of 3-2.

For a quick look at how to use MEGA, read our guide.

Round: Usability
No clear winner, points for both
Visit Sync.com3
Visit MEGA2

4. File Syncing & Sharing

Since file syncing and sharing make up the bulk of what you’ll use any cloud storage for, they deserve their own round separate from the rest of the features. Sync.com and MEGA take similar approaches to syncing, but the former has far more flexibility and options when it comes to file sharing.

File Synchronization

When you install the Sync.com client on your computer, a sync folder is created in your file system. Any files you place in it are stored on both your computer hard drive and in the cloud. This is the most standard method of file syncing, and it’s the way MEGA operates as well. MEGA does have a slight advantage here, as it also lets you sync existing folders to the cloud.

computer sync folder
Both MEGA and Sync.com use a traditional sync folder approach.

MEGA and Sync.com both offer selective sync, meaning that you can turn off synchronization for specific folders, saving space on your hard drive.

bandwidth throttling
Both MEGA and Sync.com let you cap how much of your internet connection they can use.

We didn’t notice any performance issues while undergoing our sync tests, but if that does become an issue (or you don’t want to use all of your bandwidth), both services allow you to throttle sync speeds.

File Sharing

Both Sync.com and MEGA let you share files with others, an obvious extension of cloud storage. Both do this by generating links that let others download your files or access folders. However, as we’re about to see, there’s much more to it than that.

Both MEGA and Sync.com let you create a link to share files directly from your file system by right-clicking on any file and selecting “create a link.” You can then send this link manually through an email or a chat client, or have the service email it directly to the person you want to share it with.

mega link sharing
MEGA’s sharing options are good, though they’re not as extensive as Sync’s.

Advanced File Sharing Options 

So far the file-sharing looks pretty similar, but when you look at the advanced sharing options, there’s a notable difference. For its paid plans, MEGA supports expiration dates and password protection for shared links, but that’s pretty much it.

Sync.com on the other hand, has far more sharing settings you can play with. In addition to expiration dates and password protection, you can set download limits, let people add comments, create upload links (basically a file request you can send to someone else), receive email notifications about link activity and see detailed statistics about how the shared links are used. 

download upload link
Sync.com offers an impressive array of options for your shared links.

The password protection is available on all plans, but the rest of the sharing features are limited to paying users. In addition to the regular sharing links, Sync.com also has a Slack integration that lets you share any file inside of the messaging app by typing “/sync” into a channel.

Folder Sharing

You can also share entire folders with both MEGA and Sync.com by either creating the same type of shared link that you would for individual files or using the folder-sharing feature instead. 

With MEGA, you can choose whether the recipient has full access (which lets them share the folder themselves), read and write permission, or read-only permission. Sync.com’s folder sharing is almost identical, with the only difference being that you can’t give people permission to reshare the folder.

MEGA folder permissions
You can let other people reshare your files with MEGA.

Due to all this advanced sharing functionality, Sync.com easily wins this round, despite not being able to sync your existing folder structure. That means our score is now 4-2 in Sync.com’s favor as we head into our final two rounds.

Round: File Syncing & Sharing
Point for Sync.com
Visit Sync.com4
Visit MEGA2

5. Speed

If you’re going to frequently upload and download files to and from your cloud storage, chances are you want it to happen as quickly as possible. To find out which of the two providers performs better, we did some speed tests with a 1GB folder on a connection with download and upload speeds of 32 Mbps and 5.9 Mbps, respectively.

The tests were performed from Macedonia, to one of MEGA’s European data centers and Sync.com’s Canadian data center.

Sync.com Speeds

 First attempt:Second attempt:Average:
Upload time37:5539:4338:13
Download time16:0116:4516:23

Although these results are decent, we expected the download to take around 4 minutes and the upload around 23 minutes, meaning there’s definite room for improvement here. This becomes obvious when we compare the results with the ones we got for MEGA.

MEGA Speeds

 First attemptSecond attemptAverageExpected time
Upload:51:5653:4852:5223:40
Download:05:1604:5905:0804:30

The speeds were quite a bit better than those posted by Sync.com. That’s not too surprising, since MEGA has data centers around the world, while Sync.com only has servers in Canada. Still, even with the geographical distance, we expected Sync.com to perform better here. It’s also worth noting that neither service offers block-level sync, which doesn’t apply to these tests.

What all this means is that MEGA finally managed to snatch a clear victory in one of our rounds, moving the score to 4-3. It’s not going to be enough to secure an overall win though, as there’s only one round to go.

Round: Speed
Point for MEGA
Visit Sync.com4
Visit MEGA3

6. Security & Privacy

Cloud security is always a topic of concern when comparing cloud storage services. In this case, it’s a particularly interesting comparison, since Sync.com and MEGA are two of the most popular zero-knowledge cloud storage services available.

Two Zero-Knowledge Cloud Storage Services

Zero-knowledge encryption is a more marketable way of saying private end-to-end encryption. The advantage is that you get to hold onto your encryption key yourself; the cloud storage company doesn’t keep a copy. That means that nobody but you and those you grant access to can ever decrypt your files. 

Sync.com encrypts files using AES 256-bit encryption. Files in transit are further protected with  TLS tunnels, and the encryption keys are protected using 2048-bit RSA. This helps fend off man-in-the-middle attacks and other types of online eavesdropping.

MEGA also uses the AES protocol to scramble files, although the actual level of encryption, 128-bit, is a bit weaker than that used by Sync.com. However, don’t let that sway you. AES-128, like AES-256, isn’t known to have been cracked and any difference between the two is mostly theoretical. For files in transit, MEGA also uses TLS.

Two-Factor Authentication

While encryption keys are next to impossible to crack, the same can’t be said of terrible passwords. A 256-bit encryption key could theoretically take billions of years to brute-force crack; weak passwords can be undone in a few hours.

The best thing you can do to prevent that from happening is make sure you use a strong password. However, both Sync.com and MEGA help with this, with an option to activate two-factor authentication (2FA).

sync two factor authentication
Enabling Sync.com’s 2FA makes the files you store on the cloud much more secure.

With 2FA on, your password alone won’t be enough to access your account. Anyone trying to log in will also require a special security code sent to your email address or mobile device (using an app like Google Authenticator).

Data Centers

Sync.com maintains a hardened datacenter that is SOC-1 certified. It’s built to withstand natural disasters and guard against both physical and online attacks. The Sync.com datacenter is also located in Toronto, Canada. The advantage of that is that Canada has generally more privacy-friendly laws than the U.S., where most other cloud storage services are located.

The MEGA servers, on the other hand, are located in Europe, Canada and New Zealand, where the company is headquartered. Privacy is considered a fundamental human right in New Zealand, and privacy laws in the EU and Canada are also strong.

There’s practically nothing that gives either provider an edge in this round, as both get top marks in both security and privacy. That means we’ll end this comparison rather anticlimactically with another tie — giving us a final score of 5-4 — which leaves Sync.com as the overall winner.

Round: Security & Privacy
No clear winner, points for both
Visit Sync.com5
Visit MEGA4

The Verdict

That’s the end of our comparison. With two rounds won and three ties, Sync.com is the clear winner here, though MEGA certainly has its uses too. If you’re looking for a secure and easy way to sync files, share them with others and upload bigger files to the cloud that only you can access, then Sync.com is hands down the best cloud storage option out there.

That said, MEGA’s massive amount of free storage — combined with its excellent security and privacy, plus neat minor features like video previews and an encrypted chat client — could make it the better option if you’re looking for those things in particular. It also sports a faster upload and download speed, and isn’t limited to a set sync folder.

Overall Winner: Sync.com

What did you think of our comparison? Do you agree that Sync.com’s advanced sharing options, more reasonable price and Office365 integration makes it a better choice than MEGA? Or do you think we gave the latter a raw deal considering its generous free plan, more detailed folder permissions and media file previews? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.